Far too often, we hear people say that hearing loss only applies to “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of getting old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.

These remarks couldn’t be further from the facts.

Here are statistics you need to know about:

Prevalence of hearing loss in the US

Hearing loss, to some degree, impacts 20 percent of all Americans, or 48 million people, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. If everyone with hearing loss in the US lived in the same state, its population would be larger than the whole state of California by 10 million people.

1 out of every 5 people in the US has some amount of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. Which means, the chances that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, very high.

In addition, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and around the globe the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most prevalent health problem around the world. In fact, those living with hearing loss exceed in number those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.

Hearing loss by age group

Even if 1 out of 5 individuals in the US has some level of hearing loss, we’re still only talking about older people, correct?

This is a common myth, but the response is an definitive no.

According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only around 35 percent are over the age of 65. Well over 30 million Americans under the age of 65 suffer from hearing loss. Of those:

  • 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have some form of hearing loss.
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40) already have hearing loss.
  • 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems.
  • 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a noticeable degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.

Although hearing loss is prevalent across all age groups, the severity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. Whereas only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss, the rate grows to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64, around 25 percent for adults aged 65 to 74, and around 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.

The causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss is highly prevalent (both in the US and all around the world), impacts all age groups, and has become more prevalent as time passes. What’s the cause behind this trend?

There are many causes, but the two chief causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.

Concerning sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud sounds at the workplace or during leisure activities.

The World Health Organization has also estimated that 1.1 billion teens and young adults across the globe are at risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal music players played at excessive volumes.

In regard to aging, the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is expanding, and hearing loss is more prevalent among this group.

Can hearing aids help?

The greatest defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Staying clear of loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing personalized ear protection are three strategies that can save your hearing.

But what if you currently have hearing loss?

Fortunately, owing to the advances in technology and hearing health care, nearly all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And compared with the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, today’s hearing aids have proven to be effective.

A current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that hearing aids (three popular types tested) are in fact generally effective, concluding that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”

Patients have also acknowledged the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after reviewing years of research, concluded that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”

Similarly, a recent MarkeTrak consumer satisfaction survey found that, for people with hearing aids four years of age or less, 78.6% were satisfied with their hearing aid performance.

The statistics speak for themselves, and your chances of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also demonstrate that, even if you currently have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from wearing hearing aids is very high

Whether you require custom ear protection to protect against hearing loss or a new set of hearing aids to amplify the hearing you’ve already lost, we can help. We have experience with all varieties of hearing loss and can help find the ideal treatment for you.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.